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(Louis leads the Stretford End in a rendition of ‘Louis van Gaal’s Army!’)

If, after David Moyes was sacked, Manchester United fans were thinking a new manager was going to come in and start winning trophies immediately, they were mistaken.

On arriving at Old Trafford, van Gaal immediately gave off the aura of somebody far more confident than Moyes ever was. He was instantly comfortable in the job having managed major clubs in the past. He was looking to win things, not striving to be as good as City, or making Liverpool favourites for a game at Old Trafford. Moyes, unfortunately during his short time at Old Trafford, never lost the ‘smaller club’ mentality and it was this, more than anything else, that lost him the job.

You have to remember that when van Gaal had been in charge for the same length of time as Moyes their records were virtually identical. So, you may wonder, why was Moyes sacked, but van Gaal wasn’t? The simple truth is that the Dutchman is looked upon as “Manchester United manager material”. Moyes, after a very short time, wasn’t.

Although van Gaal achieved Champion’s League qualification in his first season, it was thought that this was a minimum requirement. He had inherited Alex Ferguson’s squad plus Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata and the later arrivals of Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw. This time out, more is expected.

Since the close of last season he has bought Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin, Matteo Darmian, Sergio Romero, Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay. Again, I get the impression that, had Moyes been in charge, he wouldn’t have been given the almost £300 million that van Gaal got to spend.

As I write, United are in third place in the table, one place better off than their finishing spot last season. Not much reward for the money spent you may think, but van Gaal has been quite clever in his spending.

He does want to win every competition he enters, that is the type of person he is. He is also realistic. He is on a three year contract and is adamant that he is going to retire when it finishes. This means that he has to win trophies quickly.

This is why a player of the age of Schweinsteiger has been brought in. This is why he would be interested if he could get Arjen Robben from Bayern Munich. These are his short term fixes that, hopefully, mean he doesn’t end his stint at Old Trafford empty-handed. The other players he has bought are young and could be at Old Trafford for years. He has also given game time to Paddy McNair, James Wilson, Tyler Blackett, Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard, more players for the future.

He has turned Chris Smalling into a good centre back merely by changing his name, a ploy discussed in a previous post, which is here if you missed it.

He has actually made United a very good defensive unit and this, to an extent, is the problem. United fans want good defenders as long as they also have good forwards who are scoring regularly. At the moment van Gaal has one of the two. His next addition should be a world class goalscorer and then maybe a pacy, creative winger.

These are the lines along which Gary Neville is thinking when he says that United are just two players short of winning the title.

United supporters, fickle as they are, would have preferred that the forwards were sorted out first and that United were winning games 3-2 and 4-3. In fairness, van Gaal has done it in the traditional way. Sort out the defence first, stop conceding goals and then you CAN’T lose.

Judge him at the end of his contract. If, by then, he hasn’t delivered the title or the Champion’s League, he can be considered a failure. If he has delivered one or the other then a few people will need to eat their words.

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Comments
  1. Lili the red says:

    Two things that make me really dislike the man are; One, making Rooney captain and playing him every game against the interest of the team and the club. Two, playing players out of position when he has options on the bench. I believe that, whatever he achieves, I won’t remember him in a positive way.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kanz says:

    A very rational article. Much better than any I have read so far. I believe quicker or one touch passing will improve our attack drastically. We do have the creative players available. Speed can be compensated by quicker passing.

    Liked by 1 person

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